About Des Moines Heritage Trust
The Des Moines Heritage Trust is a non-profit organization that has been formed to save historic buildings in the city of Des Moines that are endangered because of neglect or in the way of redevelopment. In many communities, organizations are formed to create housing for low to moderate income families and also to redevelop commercial areas, however, historic properties frequently are demolished because there is no organization to come to their rescue or they are undervalued because “it is just an old building.”
The Des Moines Heritage Trust (DMHT) intends to become the vehicle through a combination of establishing a trust fund and use of leveraged assets through the redevelopment of historic properties. DMHT’s first project is an historic depot in the Historic East Village of Des Moines. This project will be funded through a variety of programs available for historic buildings and individual fundraising activities to create a home for Des Moines’ heritage organizations such as the Des Moines Historical Society, Historic East Village, the Des Moines Rehabbers Club and many others. The former depot will be known as the Des Moines Heritage Center and will feature a new building constructed next to it which will operate as an event center. This center will be available for rentals and for historic organizations to provide educational and cultural programming. This property will become the first leveraged property to establish a line of credit for the funding of purchase and rehabilitation of other historic properties.
The second prong of funding is to establish a trust fund of available capital to quickly purchase properties before the wrecking ball falls. This trust will be funded through fundraising, grants and ultimately from proceeds of historic properties that have been restored and sold.
DMHT was formed in response to the potential loss of the East Des Moines Union Depot which was built in 1909. Historic Preservationists are frequently in a state of angst as another historic property is endangered because of the property being sold or in the way of redevelopment. In many cases, it is too late to come to the table to attempt to preserve or move the building because of lack of funds and an organization to provide the capacity. This is where the DMHT would step in to work with developers, the city and property owners to work to save the historic structure. Through a combination of the trust fund, leveraged assets and developer contribution (cost of demolition and landfill fees), many historic buildings could be saved that would otherwise be demolished.
Chair: Jake Christensen
Vice-Chair: Tim Waddell
Treasurer: Ann Schmid
Secretary: Pat Meiners